TIGERNUT FROM VALENCIA IS ALSO GOOD FOR VISUAL HEALTH

19/07/2017

A SCIENTIFIC STUDY SHOWS THE BENEFITS OS A DAILY INTAKE OF CHUFA (TIGERNUT) FROM VALENCIA

The results of the study "Nutritional Supplementation with Chufa de Valencia for the improvement of visual function" carried out by the Santiago Grisolía Ophthalmological Research Unit and the Foundation for Health and Biomedical Research of the Generalitat Valenciana (FISABIO) have been submitted. 

The researchers responsible of the project, Mª Dolores Pinazo and Vicente Zanón, have exposed the methodology of the study and its conclusions, noting that it is the first study in the world that prove the benefit of a daily intake of a small amount of tigernut, to maintain the Macular pigment optic density (MPOD) and to help to control dyslipidemia and oxidative stress.

This study was done on a sample of 30 participants who took 30 g daily of tigernut for 3 months. The main objective of the study was to evaluate the effect of consumption of Valencia tigernut, as a source of vegetable proteins, fiber, vitamin E, carotenoids and omega-6 fatty acids, on the optical density of the macular pigment (DOPM) and antioxidant activity (AAP) to establish its properties as an alternative food for visual health.

3 months after the daily intake of chufa from Valencia, was observed an increase of 50% in the volume of macular pigment in both eyes. For researchers, this shows that the tuber has carotenoids (lutein and zeaxanthin) that can be stored in the macular region, acting as an ultraviolet light filter to protect the macula. On the other hand, the chufa of Valencia is rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids which favor the deposits of lutein and zeaxanthin at the macular level, so it is not strange the improvement of the optical density results of the macular pigment .

The carotenoids have an antioxidant action. Researchers have found that the supplementation with Valencia tigernut has increased significantly the plasma antioxidant activity, which also helps to protect the retina against exogenous oxidative stress caused by environmental agents (radiation, tobacco smoke, pollution, etc.). and also endogenous oxidative stress (caused by chemical reactions taking place in our body).

But not only the visual function has been benefited; as Dr. Zanón explained, chufa of Valencia consumption decreased total cholesterol (5%), especially LDL fraction (bad cholesterol) (9%) and triglycerides ( 10%), while the HDL (good) cholesterol fraction increased a 7%. Glucose levels also tended to decrease slightly after eating chufa for 3 consecutive months (6%) and the calcium concentration was slightly increased.

Dr. Pinazo has expressed her interest in carrying out this line of research, tracking ophthalmological patients (glaucoma, dry eye, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy) because, as she has explained, much more specific and amazing results are expected.

In conclusion, chufa provides vegetal proteins, antioxidant vitamins, polyunsaturated fatty acids and carotenoids that should be considered to favor the general health of the population and specifically is beneficial for macular integrity.